Negating Promoter Greed

You like a stock. 

You’ve checked it out. 

Fundamentals are under control. 

You find the management reasonable.

They’re shareholder-friendly. 

They have high salaries though, specifically those connected to the promoter-group. 

Now, you need to answer some questions.

Are you ok with high salaries for the top staff?

What is your definition of high?

Are salaries performance-driven?

Do the company’s number justify what promoter-connected management is taking home?

Ok. 

You’ve answered these questions. 

You still want the stock, despite the fact that an answer to two could be an outlier. 

That’s fine. 

One won’t find perfection anywhere. 

If one finds it, the stock will probably already be overpriced. 

So, you’re ok with mild imperfection, as long as your basic needs are met. 

You decide to purchase the stock. 

Here’s how you can negate promoter greed. 

The fancy cars, the family dish outs, the pushed-in lunch bills, the first class travel, you get the drift. 

Who doesn’t do it, given the opportunity?

Your promoter is human, and will surround him- or herself with comforts, at the company’s expense. 

That is the norm. Get used to it. 

Here’s how you are not letting this affect you. 

You buy in a staggered fashion. 

You buy with margin of safety. 

Because you’re sure of fundamentals, you average down. 

Each time your holding average touches a new low, you’ve secured yourself against promoter greed just a tad more. 

Because of sound fundamentals, ultimately, the stock will start to rise. 

That’s the time your low holding average will show a stellar profit for you. 

Perhaps your holding average is better than that of the promoter.

If that is the case, rise in price has given you more profit than it has to the promoter. 

Therefore, while the promoter got to live in the lap of luxury at the cost of the company, you were busy raking in a better result owing to the price rise.

Successive margin of safety buying amounting to averaging down after convincing oneself of intact fundamentals has been the key for you. 

Use this key, but do so wisely, and safely. 

Remember, that averaging down only works well in the case of diligent, research-based long-term investing. Averaging down is a strict no-no for short-term traders, however. 

Wishing you happy and fruitful investing!

🙂

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Wave Buying upon Prolonged Corrections

Where there are markets, there are corrections.

At first, they cause us dismay.

Slowly, we get used to them.

Then, we start using them.

Next step is – exploiting them.

One can speak of exploiting if a correction persists, and one is long-term investing.

During a persisting correction, we purchase in waves.

How are we defining a wave?

Go through your long term portfolio and pick out those stocks that are offering margin of safety.

You convince yourself of their health once again. Still healthy? Go ahead.

You purchase them one by one, one per day, by putting one entry quantum into the market for each purchase.

There will be greed to buy more than one underlying in one day. Don’t give in. This will allow your buying power to persist alongside a persisting correction.

The size of your entry quantum needs to be small enough to sustain entries all year round, still leaving ample liquidity on the side. Your long-term strategy should not immobilise your financial and familial activity in any way. Thus, an optimally small enough entry quantum is vital.

You’ve gone through a wave.

Breathe.

Correction persisting?

Go through your long-term portfolio again.

Where does margin of safety still exist? Pick out stocks list.

Go through next wave.

Repeat.

Till when?

Till no margin of safety is offered, or if you feel that the buying limit with a stock is surpassed.

4-5 such waves can really ramp up your portfolio.

What happens if corrections continue over multiple years?

Take long breathers between sets of waves.

Keep doing due diligence. If you’re not convinced about a stock anymore, don’t include the concerned stock in the next round of wave-buying (you can exit such a stock completely upon a market high; wait patiently for such a high and then throw the stock out, if still unconvinced about it).

Yes, ultimately, markets will start to rise again. Margin of safety dries up. You stop buying.

Your portfolio will now start showing its health.

Why?

It’s been accumulated with conviction, at the right price.

Congratulations.

🙂

Personal Long-Term Investing Isn’t about Establishing a Mutual Fund

If it were the case, why bother?

Just put your money in a mutual fund instead. 

There are many competent fully equity-oriented mutual funds out there. 

Some of the competent ones have very reasonable expense ratios and eye-popping statistics. 

Investing in a mutual fund takes away your work-load completely. 

You put in the money for the longish-term, and then you’re done. Don’t bother for the next 5 years. 

If you’ve chose the dividend payout option, you get an SMS or an email maybe once or twice a year that puts a smile on your face. It’s a payout!

What is a mutual fund?

What’s so mutual about it?

You mutually agree to what the fund manager is doing. 

Thus, make sure that the fund-manager is competent. Study the fund-manager’s track-record. 

A mutual fund typically consists of 50-75 stocks. Some are weighted heavily, some more lightly. 

The return you get is the mathematical average of the 50-75 stocks, adjusted for the weight they carry. 

It would suffice here to say, that the MF delivers some kind of an average return, less all kinds of fees, which typically range around the 2.5% mark per annum. 

Therefore, as far as returns are concerned, after tax deductions, one is probably left with a high single-digit one or a low double-digit one, in the long run, compounded. 

Not too bad.

Remember, this is equity we are talking about. Equity is an asset-class which gives returns that are adjusted for inflation. 

Actually, great. 

Those of you who are satisfied with this need not read any further. Just go ahead and put your surplus funds into MFs.

However, some of us want that extra kick. We are not satisfied with low single digits. We want 15%+, per annum compounded, after tax and adjusted for inflation. 

This is not greed. 

Ambition perhaps. 

Drive. 

Renumeration requirement for the arduous work put in. 

We’ve struggled. 

We’ve gotten hit many, many times. Each time, we’ve stood up, taken the hit, and carried on.

We have learnt. 

All for what?

Now it’s time to cash-in.

We go about setting up our long-term portfolios in the proper fashion. 

Total number of stocks eventually in the portfolio needs to be well clear of the MF mark…otherwise, right, why bother.

MF-type diversification will give an average return. 

We will build a focus portfolio. 

Focused returns are higher in the long run.

What’s the magic number?

Well clear of 50-75 stocks in all is understood. For me, even 40 is too much. I could deal with 30, though. Hmmm, let’s steer clear of the 3 in 30, so 29 is good enough for me as a maximum. The pundits are satisfied with 15-20 stocks, no more. Focus-gurus swear by 10-15 stocks. I’m ok with a maximum of 29, (a limit I’ve not reached yet) because in reality, I just hold 6 sectors, and multiple underlyings within the sectors. Thus, even with a maximum like 29, the 6 sectors alone make it a focused portfolio. 

The bottom-line is focus. 

As long-term investors doing it ourselves, we are going to focus. 

Staggered entry. 

Small entry quantum each time, many, many times. 

How small?

Small enough, such that one can enter about 30 or so times in a year and still have ample savings on the side from one’s earnings. Why 30 or so? That’s a rough 10-year average calculated per annum, estimated by me, during which one gets margin of safety in the 220 days or so that the markets are open in the year.

There we are : focus-investing, margin of safety, staggered entry, many, many entries, small entry quantum each time and generation of ample savings despite equity exposure. 

Is that a formula or is that a formula?

🙂

Small Shoots to Big Trees

What do I see around myself?

Lots of small shoots. 

Wherever I look, there are small shoots. 

Does this make me happy?

You bet. 

Why?

Why not?

I mean, you don’t see any trees. 

So?

You’ve been at it for a while.

So?

All you’re seeing is shoots. Does that satisfy you? None of your efforts is a big tree in all this while.

That’s a very narrow-minded, greedy and fast-buck remark. 

Explain. 

For each of the shoots I see around me, twenty efforts have died their death. However, one shoot managed to entrench itself. This one shoot is firm, and goes very deep into the ground. It’s roots have become very strong. It is now ready for the world and has decided to show itself over the ground.  Over the next many, many years, with my meticulous nurturing, this very shoot shall grow up into a mammoth tree with unprecedented positive consequences.

I see. And, you’re saying that you see many such shoots around yourself?

Yes, many many.

Wow.

Yeah, i’ve been busy. I’ve tried and discarded many things. What remained didn’t want to leave me. It got planted and grew roots. Now that the shoots are growing, they are mostly on auto-pilot. Some need tending to once a day, some once a week.

Does that give you empty spaces in between?

Yes.

How do you fill these empty spaces?

I do, and I don’t.

Meaning?

Unless something new refuses to leave me, I don’t wish to plant another tree.

Why?

I’m happy enough tending to what I have.

So you’ve reached the…what’s that called?

Sweet spot?

Yes, you’ve reached the sweet spot. But nobody knows about you. You’re not famous or anything.

That’s why the spot is sweet.

Meaning?

Nobody disturbs my privacy. I can go where I choose. Do what I want. I don’t need to share my time with anyone if I don’t want to. There are no compulsions imposed upon me. 

Do you think you will be famous one day?

When these shoots grow into big trees, that might happen.

Do you want it to happen?

I want my trees to grow. Not sure today about fame. It kills personal life. I like my life and its pace.

Any regrets?

Sometimes, I get lonely. It’s the nature of the path. Despite family and a decent social life, loneliness is still there. Applied finance requires a lot of alone-time. 

How do you deal with that?

I start tending to a different shoot. Financial. Non-financial. Recreational. Creative. Gap gets bridged, and then the loneliness is gone. 

Holding the Line

Your systems are in place.

They’re implemented. 

Basics are going. Life basics. Family basics.

Then you’ve got your income basics. They’re safe. They generate income. This income goes towards comfortable upkeep of your family. Some of it is saved. 

Your investment portfolios are firing. Savings have built these up. You don’t touch these, but keep adding to them upon opportunity. 

You’ve just finished implementing all your trading systems. 

Some of these are on auto-pilot. 

The other ones demand a little of your time each day. 

They keep you sharp and all there. 

Nothing much. 

Just fifteen to twenty minutes each. 

Skin off your teeth. 

You tackle them with your bed-tea. 

In other words, you are set as far as being income plus plus plus. 

Good. 

Now what?

Now you need to hold the line. 

What does that mean?

It means everything. 

It means no blow-ups…

…no crazy decisions that impact folios and family…

…basically nothing insane coming from you that will threaten your hard-earned situation or worse. 

Holding the line means making sure basics stay intact…

…folios keep growing…

…and new systems keep developing that add to these. 

It’s really that simple. 

When you hold the line, your next step either maintains status quo or adds to you. Preferably, it adds to you.

However, the simpler something is, the more difficult it is to follow. 

What are the demons that can slay you?

Over-confidence.

Over-ambition.

Hubris.

Greed.

Showmanship. 

Debt.

One-up-on-the-Joneses-ideology. 

This stuff looks pretty harmless at first, but is enough to give rise to cracks. 

Cracks grow… 

…till you’ve either come back to your senses and filled and sealed them…

…or till they’ve destroyed you right down to beyond your basics. 

Yeah, a full blow-up is never really far away, once cracks start to appear. 

Therefore…

…while holding the line…

… you keep reminding yourself about what you’re doing…

…why you’re doing it…

…and that you’re never going to blow up, come what may…

…and that you’re going to keep holding the line, come what may…

…and that your next step is always going to add to you.

Happy Holding!

🙂

Limits will keep you Safe

Safety is under-rated.

People scoff… at safety.

Ask someone to belt-up.

Or, ask xyz to take a backup.

Emergency fund, anyone?

Insurance?

Plan B?

Is anyone really interested?

Ok, don’t have a plan B. Fine.

Then, you need to watch your plan A like a hawk.

You need to install safety nets.

One such net is a limit.

Limit movement of funds.

Nowadays, this takes but a few online clicks. Setting fund-movement limits in your netbanking is not difficult at all.

What does a limit do?

It says ballyhoo to your emotions.

Greedy?

Too bad, fellow, funds more than your defined limits can’t leave your savings account, in case you wished these to depart for your trading account.

So, greed is in check. With force. Order of the day.

Limits will keep you safe.

Over-optimistic?

Same check.

Limits will keep you safe.

So on and so forth.

A little self-control is required though.

You’re not going to tamper with your limit, right?

Right.

Manipulation / Fraud / Ponzi – I Reject You

I detest manipulation, and manipulators. 

I like people who are straight-forward, without hidden agendas. Simplicity is gold. Simplicity breeds success. Simplicity gives satisfaction from within. 

All the twisting and turning, wheeling and dealing, wangling and dangling of manipulation makes me want to puke. 

Therefore, manipulators, frauds, Ponzis, I reject you. Manipulation doesn’t make the manipulator happy. Try it and see. I’m 100% sure your story won’t have a happy end.

Rejection is a simple process. When you reject something, you stay away from it. You get out of its way when it is in the vicinity. You head off elsewhere when that something is headed in your direction. Everyone’s probably been rejected sometime or someplace, so everyone probably understands rejection. 

Well, rejection is one thing, but how does one recognise a manipulator, fraud, or Ponzi?

Recognition is key. 

This breed of people talk sweet. They appear harmless. They don’t lose arguments. Quick, witty, sharp. Fast thinkers. They keep you hanging. Give ambiguous answers. Mostly, they like to not answer at all, so as to keep you dancing around them, making you more vulnerable to their schemes or ulterior motives. If you’re interested in their something, they use silence as a weapon. You’re hot, you’re interested, they’re silent, makes you hotter, makes you more interested. The idea is that ultimately, when the manipulator breaks the silence, you lap up whatever you’re getting. Also, they keep you hungry for more. Manipulators are vicious, vile people. 

Where manipulators push you to act, slowly, but steadily, by twisting and turning your world in the manner they consider appropriate (since you’ve given them that power), frauds outright present a reality which sucks you in to sign the dotted line. Frauds sell a dream. It’s a great dream. You want to be a part of it. It overwhelms you. It’s almost too good to be true.

Ponzis are frauds. They sell the dream of unrealistically large returns. They count on greed to cloud your vision. They lure new sets of investors by distributing investorial proceeds from one set of investors as dividends to slightly older investors, and so on and so forth, till the bandwagon is overloaded with thousands of investors paying full-throttle only to see the Ponzi vanish next day, with everything, never to be heard of again. 

When someone doesn’t give you a straight-forward answer, walk the other way. Don’t bother with benefit of doubt, just walk the other way. With very high probability, you’ll have avoided a manipulator. When someone uses silence as a weapon, walk away ten miles. Warn everyone of a mega-manipulator in the neighbourhood. Analyze sweet- and smooth-talk ten times. Is there any truth in what’s being said, or are the words an eye-wash, hiding a fraud behind themselves? If you’re not greedy, you won’t fall for a Ponzi. Don’t be greedy. Period. 

You’ve hit full cycle. 

You’ve understood the existence of the breed we speak about. It has dawned upon you. Let’s call this “internal realization”.

Then comes “external recognition”, of the breed being in your vicinity, and trying to exercise its powers upon you. 

Lastly, comes “complete rejection”. 

Well done. 

You’ve saved yourself from lots of emotional and or monetary trouble. 

Spread the word.